Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Setting lights.

We live about 15 miles east of the "No Services for 100 Miles" sign, which means I don't have easy access to pre-printed condition candles.  The other day a friend of mine wanted a candle for a job interview, so I pulled out a blank white candle, and a Sharpie, and drew a custom candle for them, with a sketch of them and the text "Nuevo Trabajo" on the front. On the back I put their name and copied out the 23rd Psalm.

I loaded the candle with Crown of Success and Fast Luck conditions oils; and herbs: gravel root for getting a job, deer tongue for verbal facility in the interview, and cinnamon chips to speed things up. I also added gold-colored mica for prosperity and to make it beautiful. I then prayed over the candle, knocked it, and set it in a lantern to protect it from the elements. I added crystals and stones around the bottom.

Weather gives the candle extra energy. I hear thunder out there right now. There has been a light rain throughout the day.

There's something charming about a hand-drawn candle. It's not perfectly drawn, but it has personal energy and intention, and is imbued with care. I'm sending away for oil paint pens which will give me more colors to work with, and provide darker and more permanent marking..

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sacred scents and medicines.

We drove to Los Angeles on Sunday so I could attend a course at the The Institute for Art and Olfaction in Chinatown. I'd signed up to take a class called Tarot and Perfume, with Tim Van Ausdal and Madeleine Stearns. The class would use the Tarot as a "means of divining the medicine we're being invited to engage with in our current circumstances." Madeleine chose the scent families as they related to the Fool in the Tarot deck. She relied on her intution and the visual imagery in the artwork to make her choices.

This was my first time working with scents. Last month I was bottling perfumed oils with Catherine Yronwode, and though I did learn how to make a stunningly beautiful product, we did no blending of scents.

Catherine Yronwode's Sun Oil. I made that!
I chose not to work with the Fool, but rather the Ace of Cups, and other water cards such as Temperance and The Star in the Major Arcana. I wanted a scent that evoked spring water, and shaded riparian grottos.

I was drawn to the fresh marine scent of cyclamen. I was also eager to smell galbanum, which is mentioned in Exodus chapter 30, as one of the sweet spices in temple incense.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:

I was pleasantly surprised and knew that I would be including it in my blend, though a little goes a long way. Other scents that made the cut were cardamom and geranium, and one or two more to round the rough edges.

The scent is very grassy and green, and now that I'm home with it I think I'd like to try adding the tiniest tch of lemon, and something spicy like carnation, to ground it and give it more depth. But it wasn't bad for a first try. I'm also very excited and certain that I will be able to blend my own complex variations on traditional conditions oils, and am very eager to start.

I highly recommend these classes. If you have a creative bent you will find yourself challenged on many levels, and longing for more.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Making a mossarium.

Mossarium with Japanese Maple.
We, in the hi-desert, had a beautiful spring, with gold cups springing up as far as the eye could see. We also had white chicory, creamy pincusions, golden poppies, and other desert flowers. By mid-June, however, this place will look a lot like the surface of Mars.

There are times when I miss the color green. This year I took matters into my own hands. I went north to Guernville, and while there the woman who owned the AirBNB I stayed at gave me a big ziplock bag full of moss from her property.

I brought it home, enough for two large glass jars.  I put rocks and sand in the bottom, and then a layer of peat-rich potting soil. After that I carefully placed the moss in the jars. One has a Japanese Maple tree sprout (pictured).

The jars are covered, which keeps in the moisture. They get the morning sun only; the rest of the day just normal room lighting. They've already started to settle and grow. When I made one a few years ago for my husband's office space, a mushroom sprouted and it imprinted onto the side of the glass. It was beautiful.

Mossariums are beautiful and cheering in themselves, but I would be interested to know how others might use them in various workings.

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:3

Monday, May 27, 2019


Handmade incense burner.
The air in the desert is sweet and when it rains is laden with the heady scent of creosote and burro bush. And yet we burn incense regularly. It becomes a thread of scent that runs through our days, marking time, and providing consistency.

For convenience we burn stick incense, but twice a week I compound my own incense, burning resinous frankinsence and myrhh, and the leaves of althaea and cat's claw, and occasionally a little loose tobacco, over a charcoal disk. This is an offering to the Spirit.

"And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." -- Revelation 8:4 King James Version (KJV)

Cat's claw, or Acacia greggii.
Cat's claw, or Acacia greggii, is a type of acacia native to this part of the Mojave Desert. It is in the same family as  Acacia seyal, the Shittah wood referenced in the Bible, from which the ark of the covenant was made. Cat's claw is one of the last plants to leaf in the spring, but does so with a deep, exuberant green. Cream-colored flowers follow. The harsh heat of June often strips the plant bare. The smoke from cat's claw is a warm, toasty, and welcoming scent. It is traditionally burned to memorialize the dead, and promote psychic abilities.

Althaea, or Malva parviflora.
Althaea, or Malva parviflora, is marsh mallow, a common weed. In my studies I was required to identify, collect, and dry an herb from a list of traditional plants used in folk magic -- mostly from the southern or eastern United States. Because I lived in the desert I was allowed to purchase my plant material at a grocer's or florist's but refused. In the spring I found a large stand of Althaea and with permission cut some down for my sample. The smoke from Althaea is also warm and toasty, but greener, and blends well with cat's claw. It an also be used for a spirit offering, and promotes psychic abilities.

Incense may be compounded for an individual or for a specific circumstance. Scent is strongly linked with memory and certain scents take us back in time, and put us in mind of happy circumstances. Just remember the scent of a pumpkin pie baking in the oven!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Coloring lamp oil and other oils.

Oil lamps preceded candles in the homes of our ancestors, and like candles they carried their own spiritual significance: the light in the darkness, the steady flame that invites us to look inward, to come into tune with our own spirit, and perhaps to pray. Others created or repeated rituals that helped them face the hardships and the joys of their lives. And now, as then, oil lamps are less expensive, and more permanent than candles.

If you want to color your oil, however, there is an issue: you will need oil-based dyes. Wilton's Candy Colors fit the bill. In areas more populated than my lonesome desert you may be able to pick them up at super store of one kind or another -- look in the cake supply aisle. Otherwise you can order a set of colors for less than $10. If you still do amazon, you can find Wilton Candy Colors here.

This lamp, and its twin sister, are quite amazing. I was drawn to them from an online garage sale. The woman selling them wanted $10 for them. I couldn't get there the first week. I called back and with no prompting she reduced the price to $6. I arrived at her house, $6 in hand  and she handed me the bag with the lamps and said there was no charge, she was happy for me to have them. I asked if she was sure -- she was -- and I thanked her. Even before I brought them home these two little lamps were working their prosperity magic.

After I cleaned them up I added lamp oil. Then I opened up my dye pots, cut the tops and inserted a toothpick. I dropped one drop of blue, and two drops of yellow, swirled them around and this lovely green appeared. I then added 3 pyrite chips, 3 tiny lodestones, and some flakes of gold leaf. These two lamps will be perfect for prosperity work.